Introduction: A documentary film titled Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives, declares GMO or Genetically Modified Organism food as the most dangerous threat that human beings are facing today. Likewise, a headline in Pravda newspaper criticizing the decision to broaden GMO agriculture in Russia, reads ” Russians are proud to poison themselves with GM food from their own land” (Caplan, 2013). This is how notorious GMOs are known worldwide in this generation, and anti-GMO groups have been formed to get rid of them in the market. But how true is it that GMOs are killers when there are also advocates of their continuous growth? This paper aims to explain to the readers what impact has GMO on the health of people. It is also mentioned here what these crops are, why experts are against their nurturing, and why some people defend their existence on this planet. Thesis: GMO is fatal for human beings.
What genetically-modified foods are – GM foods or GMOs refer to crop plants that are produced to feed humans or animals with the use of modern molecular biology methods. These crops have been confined and modified in the laboratory to produce desired qualities like having strong resistance to herbicides and increased nutritional content. Traditionally, this enhancement process used to be done through breeding, but since it is time consuming and usually not very accurate, genetic engineering was launched (Whitman, 2000). Today, genetically engineered foods are present in the daily menus of Americans. More than 80% of processed foods have them such as grains, corn and wheat, soybeans and soy products, salad dressings, vegetable oils, dairy products, vegetables and fruits, soft drinks, and many more. However, consumers are not aware of what they’re eating due to absence of labeling in the products.
Argument 1: The chemicals sprayed on GMOs cause chronic diseases – The dangers caused by Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide have become fatal with the recent publication in the peer-reviewed journal Entropy indicting the use of this deadly chemical in GMOs. It was discovered by a scientist named Stephanie Seneff from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that, contrary to the claims of its producer, Monsanto, the active ingredient used in Roundup, glyphosate, has a negative impact on human digestion and biosynthesis of nutrients. This chemical can cause a number of fatal diseases such as brain disorders, reproductive diseases, heart disease and cancer. Other human diseases caused by Western diet made up of GMOs are gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, obesity, depression, infertility, autism and Alzheimer’s disease (TLB staff, 2013).
Argument 2: The rogue gene discovered in GMOs is deadly – According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report, researchers discovered a viral gene identified as ‘ Gene VI’ that can disrupt the biological functions of human beings. The EFSA report revealed that typical GMO crops like soybeans and corn contain this deadly gene that causes physical mutations to human beings. The crop branded as NK603 maize has been linked to the mass tumors that developed in the intestines of rats when they were fed with this product as part of the study. While the US seems to be mum about this development, other nations like Russia, Hungary, Poland and Peru have taken a stand against Monsanto for their outright disregard for public safety. Russia is first to ban Monsanto’s GMO corn products after it was discovered to be linked with mass tumors in rats (Gucciardi, 2013).
Counter-argument 1: The world needs an expansive source of food because of increasing population – While population has reached 6 billion people, and tend to double in the next 50 years, an adequate supply of food will be a great challenge to the world in the years to come. This is the strong commitment of GM foods: to meet this growing need for food throughout the world in the following years. Today, many countries in the world, especially developing countries suffer from crop losses due to weather disturbances, drought, soil erosion, and other natural calamities. Added to these is the destruction of crops done by insects and pests resulting to big financial losses for farmers and food starvation especially in developing countries. Since most of farmers commonly use volumes of chemical pesticides annually for their crops, their tendency is to lose gains, because no consumers would want to eat food treated with pesticides that are harmful to their health. In this case, shifting to GM foods can contribute much in eliminating the treatment process with the use of chemical pesticides, thus reducing the cost of transporting a crop to the market (Whitman, 2000).
Counter-argument 2: GMOs are disease resistant, cold tolerant, drought tolerant, and salinity tolerant – While plenty of viruses, fungi and bacteria cause plant diseases, genetically-engineered plants are resistant to these diseases. Being cold tolerant, when unexpected frost destroy weak and sensitive seedlings, an antifreeze gene introduced into GM plants can withstand cold temperatures that normally kill common seedlings. As the world population increases and vast lands are needed for housing instead of utilizing them for food production, farmers will have to look for distant and isolated locations that are previously unfit for plant cultivation. With GMO plants being able to endure long periods of drought or high water salinity, people can grow crops in places that are formerly difficult to cultivate (Whitman, 2000).
What experts say about GMOs – Many reputable sites on the internet identify GMOs as “ Seeds of Death” (Istvan, 2013). The New York Times, in its Aug. 2003 issue, published that Solutia, Inc. and Monsanto, the producers of genetically-engineered seeds, settled a $700 million Alabama lawsuit to pay 20, 000 residents who were victims of GM food poisoning. Don Lotter, an agro ecologist and plant biologist stated that these seedlings should not be in the market. It takes 1 or 2 decades of study before they should have been allowed to enter the market (Istvan, 2013). Colin Campbell, the Founder of T. Colin Campbell Foundation and a professor in Cornwell University commented that it’s completely corruption that exists. While the manufacturers of GM food have to make money for investors, they take no responsibility in bringing healthy and quality food to the consumers because their ultimate objective is to “ make money” for themselves (Istvan, 2013).
Conclusion: GMOs are proven to be fatal for the health of human beings. The manufacturers of genetically-modified foods claim that these products have the potential to solve hunger and malnutrition problems across the globe. Moreover, they can help in preserving the environment by increasing the amount of yield and reducing the usage of chemical pesticides and herbicides. However in spite of these, more challenges ahead are faced by governments, specifically in the areas of testing, food labeling, international policy and regulation. Although many advocates in growing GMOs feel that genetic engineering is the only way to survive an increasing growth of population with sufficient amount of food supply, there is a need for caution and responsible production of GMOs to avoid unexpected harm to the health of human beings. In essence, genetically modified plant specimens will also lead unmodified crops to extinction (Asher, 2013).
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http://www. mthfrsupport. com/sodmovie/
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